Anything and everything about Liberty Flames football. Your comments on games, recruiting and the direction of the program as we move into new era.

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By paradox
Registration Days Posts
#635276
willflop wrote: November 10th, 2021, 9:32 am I have no idea what's going to happen, but isn't his not throwing it away and taking sacks one of the most correctable faults he has? Meaning, it's just a choice he makes, which has probably been engrained from so many previous reps of always finding a way. People can't choose to be bigger, faster, stronger (within a relative range). Much like last year, he led the nation in fumbles, and I can't remember how many times I heard the phrase "carrying the ball like a bread loaf." That appears to have been 90% corrected in the off season. So, it doesn't seem like it should have that much weight.
His left arm was in a brace last year.

Another way to look at it is that he's getting swarmed, nobody is open, he's being patient, trying to make a play, hoping someone breaks open, but hangs in there and absorbs the big hit. That can be viewed as a positive.

Are there times when ideally he should get outside the pocket and throw it out of bounds? Sure. Everyone is subject to criticism. Everyone can improve from top to bottom.

What stands out to me though, are guys around him not doing the little things. Stubbs dropping an easy ball for a first down on a short slant in crunch time. Mack's complete ineptitude in protection. All JM did was draw another explosive rusher at MW on passing downs. IMO, the other guys really can't afford to play like this if we want to win.
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By thepostman
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#635279
Another thing Willis will need to work on is placing the ball in areas that helps his receivers. Too many times a receiver has to slow down or come back to the ball. Combine that with holding onto the ball for too long and you have a couple of pretty big red flags. I do think he still goes in the late 1st round because there aren't a ton of depth at QB this year. That may be best for him so he isn't trusted into a position where he is starting right way.

His arm strength and athleticism is hard to ignore. His weaknesses can be corrected and I'd be shocked if he wasn't starting in the league within 2 or 3 years.
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By rmiller1959
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#635300
He's back on Mel Kiper's Big Board, but at #25

https://www.espn.com/nfl/draft2022/insi ... -big-board

25. Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
HT: 6-1 | WT: 215 | Previously: NR

Willis is back on the Big Board, but really he was just outside the top 25 in my previous update. I dropped him after back-to-back three-interception games against so-so opponents, but he impressed me in Saturday's loss to Ole Miss -- even as he threw three more picks. The Flames offense was overwhelmed by the Rebels' defensive talent, and Willis was sacked nine times. But he hung in and battled and made some nice throws in the second half. He's doing the best with the talent around him. Even with those nine picks, the Auburn transfer ranks 13th in the country in Total QBR (77.5). He's completing 66.4% of his passes and averaging 9.2 yards per attempt. We also have to take into account his value as a running threat; he has 26 rushing scores over the past two seasons. Willis is going to be in the mix to be the top quarterback off the board.
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By rmiller1959
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#635313
The Athletic's NFL Draft Top 50, has Matt Corral and Kenny Pickett ahead of Malik as top QB picks:

33. Malik Willis, QB, Liberty (6-0, 220)
If these rankings were based on the most fun players to study, Willis might be the clear-cut No. 1 guy. Dynamic athleticism and above-average arm strength are the foundation of his game, but the simplistic nature of the Liberty offense makes it tough to discern Willis’ ability to make whole-field reads and break down coverages post-snap. Nonetheless, all 32 NFL teams would love the opportunity to develop his electric talent.
Rank in August: 44
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By Purple Haize
Registration Days Posts
#635319
paradox wrote: November 10th, 2021, 9:20 am
Purple Haize wrote: November 10th, 2021, 8:23 am
paradox wrote: November 9th, 2021, 11:32 pm These are oversimplifications, my friend.

He was mostly on target while under extreme duress. Getting swarmed by as many as seven rushers...while his receivers struggled to find separation. it's situational. He's clearly a playmaker.

The skillset is on a very high level. And the grit and resolve is off the charts.
Absolutely no question the dude is a battler. Never will question that. I also stated earlier that his receivers aren’t….let’s just say aren’t FBS ready to be charitable. (Still stinging over that 3rd down drop in the 4th qtr) I also agree he is under duress …a lot! And that’s where the grading down begins. He won’t throw it away. While he can make electric plays he’s also costing the team his sacks he doesn’t need to take (half the sacks we’re on him last week half on the O Line).
His accuracy is greatly improved but compared to an injured Coral? He still needs work.
@JK37 makes the point that it’s a skinny QB class so that could help. But I can see GMs taking a flyer on someone from Blue Mountain State over Willis as well
Again, getting drafter in the 3rd or 4th round would be incredible! I hope he goes #1 even. I just don’t think it’s a realistic expectation
Blaming the QB when everything else is broken is what fans do. That's why they say that the back-up QB is the most popular guy in town.

Can't really predict what each GM is gonna do in the draft. Can't imagine the Steelers passing on him in the 1st, let alone the 2nd. Same with the Carolina Panthers. MW's ceiling is just too high. Someone will cash in. Hopefully, not the Lions with the first pick. Later in the first or sliding into the second would be ideal. But again, how do the Steelers and Panthers pass over him in the 1st? As a Giants fan, I'm not giving up on Jones. The potential is there. But they have two first round picks and an early second. Honestly, Giants would be better right now with MW under center. Would love to see it.
Oh I’m not sure any of the back up QBS would fair better. Nor are they being touted as 1st round picks.
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By Purple Haize
Registration Days Posts
#635320
rmiller1959 wrote: November 10th, 2021, 5:26 pm The Athletic's NFL Draft Top 50, has Matt Corral and Kenny Pickett ahead of Malik as top QB picks:

33. Malik Willis, QB, Liberty (6-0, 220)
If these rankings were based on the most fun players to study, Willis might be the clear-cut No. 1 guy. Dynamic athleticism and above-average arm strength are the foundation of his game, but the simplistic nature of the Liberty offense makes it tough to discern Willis’ ability to make whole-field reads and break down coverages post-snap. Nonetheless, all 32 NFL teams would love the opportunity to develop his electric talent.
Rank in August: 44
Corral really impressed me on Saturday. Good elusiveness and decision making. Nice accuracy and arm strength.
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By Purple Haize
Registration Days Posts
#636436
Since there are a few weeks till the next game let the crazy talk begin!

If you are MW do you go ahead and go to the NFL?
If you decide to go to the NFL do you skip the LU Bowl game and Chance to be 3x Cure Bowl Champ to focus on the Draft with your private Coach?

Discuss. There are no wrong answers
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By aredd33
Registration Days Posts
#636440
If the draft evaluators tell him he’s still likely a first round pick (how does that work by the way? Who are the guys that do this?) then I think the smartest thing is to probably skip the bowl game in my opinion. Nothing good for his long term career can come from playing. He needs to look out for Malik and do what’s best for Malik and I don’t think anyone can blame him for it.
Just my 2 cents.
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By jmclaughlin
Posts
#636442
if he has already made the decision to go pro, say so now and let the QB competition for 2022 begin. Letting Bennett, Salter, etc. get the rest of the 1st team reps can only help us moving forward. Wouldn't hurt to start clearing the locker's for some of the OL seniors as well.
By rogers3
Registration Days Posts
#636443
The play-by-play guys were making it sound like he was gone, and I bet he's pretty discouraged with the kind of protection he's gotten these last few games.
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By JK37
Registration Days Posts
#636451
I’m not sure how staying on this roster does him any NFL favors. He’s not as ready as we thought, but I dont think he gets more ready by staying.

As for bowl, hasnt thought about that. I hope he waits to decide so it doesn’t affect LU’s bowl status. Host city might not want a Willis-absent LU.
Last edited by JK37 on November 28th, 2021, 7:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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By flameshaw
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#636461
Some NFL team will probably take a flyer on him, but I do not believe he is an NFL, starting QB, based on this season's overall performance. Maybe a back-up.
He did have a lot of passes dropped today.
I wonder if he didn't get caught up in all of the pre-season hype?
By tyndal23
Posts
#636462
IF he is 25 or so pick he has to go, best scenario possible for him, good team and can be a backup behind good O Line. Otherwise, he should transfer to a Top P5 with a good O Line. Ole Miss would be perfect for him next year. ( only if he feels like he needs another year ). But he will go 1st or early second round.
By ballah09
Registration Days Posts
#636463
If I'm Malik, I'd skip the bowl game and just focus on the draft. Work with his private QB coach and train at one of Chip Smiths facilities. He's still projected to be a top 25 pick based on his athleticism, tools and potential, ala Josh Allen. We do him no favors having no offensive line and having a bunch of slot receivers with no WR1 to throw to.

Coming back next year with Arkansas, BYU and Tech on the schedule with a young line is a disaster waiting to happen for him and his stock.
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By LU 57
Posts
#636484
ballah09 wrote: November 28th, 2021, 2:29 am and having a bunch of slot receivers with no WR1 to throw to.
This is most obvious in person. WR cannot create ANY separation. Except for some of the catches in the middle of the field and the check downs, the completions we did have were Malik “throwing them open”.

It’s not a knock against Douglass, Daniels, etc. they are good slot receivers, but the bigger more athletic corners at Ole Miss, ULL, and Army just dominated our guys in the outside.

The Army guys had no problem in one-on-ones so they were able to bring extra guys all day.

It’s not like our coaches don’t know we need bigger guys. We had 2 fall through and one left the team to focus on ROTC. The one we have left has been a huge disappointment. It just doesn’t look like his heart is in it to me.

Anyway, I am still Team Ian and Team Freeze. Hopefully HCHF can get this thing back on the rails for the bowl game. Not sure I will make the trip though…
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By willflop
Posts
#636493


I think that tells a large part of the story. All the bewilderment at what happened this year vs last, since we have most of the retuning production is misplaced. Maybe we haven't regressed, even on the o line, we've just been tested fairly this year.

Last year, we scrapped by really bad wku and fiu teams, proved we couldn't run the ball well against FCS North Alabama, at least in the first half. We soundly beat Syracuse, but they are simply that bad (which is why we coulda shoulda woulda won this year) and were extremely tattered with covid and injuries (I thought I read somewhere they had to play a TE at online). Tech was extremely down, didn't go to a bowl, but I'll say this was a good one. NC State showed all future teams how to stop us, our defense kept us in it. So on and so forth, up until Coastal, which I think talent wise is more on our level and they were naturally overrated anyway, but a good win. Things have broken their way this year again, but they were a hairs breath away from a four loss season against a much weaker schedule.

We have definitely improved though, compare this 7-5 season to the 2019 7-5 season, which featured two FCS wins, two over NMSU, one over New Mexico and one over UMASS.
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By Cider Jim
Registration Days Posts
#636500
willflop wrote: November 28th, 2021, 12:31 pm
We have definitely improved though, compare this 7-5 season to the 2019 7-5 season, which featured two FCS wins, two over NMSU, one over New Mexico and one over UMASS.
And Ian is smart enough to know this. As they say in Texas, "this ain't his first rodeo."
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By Ill flame
Posts
#636516
Just as a reminder of where we were and where we are heading. Here are the final fpi rankings for each fbs season

2018: 113
2019: 97
2020: 76
2021: 69*

It's also worth noting that our defense took a big step forward again this year. We were ranked 83 in efficiency last year and 60th this year.
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By jmclaughlin
Posts
#636554
LU 57 wrote: November 28th, 2021, 9:39 am
ballah09 wrote: November 28th, 2021, 2:29 am and having a bunch of slot receivers with no WR1 to throw to.
This is most obvious in person. WR cannot create ANY separation. Except for some of the catches in the middle of the field and the check downs, the completions we did have were Malik “throwing them open”.

This...I was able to attend 2 games in person and both left me convinced of my pre-season concerns. We don't have an alpha to throw to on those crucial 3rd downs. CJ missed several games but the ones he did play in, he routinely extended drives that made the difference. Malik could trust him to win a one on one. We just didn't have that guy this year. Losing CJ and missing out on Holloman were huge losses and the last 3 losses made that 100% clear.
You can be sure the 5 up front and the 2 out wide will get Freeze's full attention for the next 3 weeks on the trail.
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